South Jersey Gas hosted a tour in Medford on Aug. 19 of some of the first construction activities in its $200 million Infrastructure Investment Program.
The project, which kicked off in July, is a five-year initiative to replace approximately 250 miles of at-risk facilities, including vintage coated steel and Aldyl-A plastic mains and related services, and installing excess flow valves on new service lines.
By targeting aging sections of the South Jersey Gas distribution system, the program will enhance the overall service to customers, reduce emissions and facilitate job creation and economic development, according to the company.
“This Infrastructure Investment Program is first and foremost about ensuring that our more than 400,000 South Jersey Gas customers have safe, reliable, affordable service – not just for the immediate future, but for many years to come,” said Brent “Bubba” Schomber, president and chief operating officer of South Jersey Gas. “It is essential that our system works ‘just right’ all of the time. The IIP and similar infrastructure investments are largely about being proactive and not reactive to things like climate change, severe weather, or other threats to energy delivery systems.”
“While South Jersey Gas has been making considerable investments to modernize its natural gas system for many years, a significant portion of the company’s legacy distribution system is still comprised of aging, at-risk pipe,” said Melissa Orsen, president of SJI Utilities. “As these aging systems are replaced through an orderly, efficient program like the IIP, South Jersey customers, the communities it serves, and the state as a whole will receive immediate and tangible benefits.”
“The Infrastructure Investment Program prioritizes methane emissions reductions and enhances our long-term system reliability, ensuring that we can continue to meet the needs of our customers who rely on us to cost-effectively heat their homes, warm their water, and cook their meals, even during the coldest of the year and under adverse weather conditions,” said Schomber.
Schomber added that infrastructure enhancements are vital to decarbonizing operations.
“We are not only reducing the release of greenhouse gases by tightening up our system, but we are taking that next step to prepare our infrastructure to deliver the clean and renewable fuels of the future,” Schomber explained. “We believe that clean fuels like renewable natural gas and green hydrogen will play a significant role in our company’s future – and we’re installing the best system to deliver those renewable fuels.”
Under the Board of Public Utilities approval secured in June, South Jersey Gas did not propose a rate change associated with the project.